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Chalk Talk: A New Year resolution that Gove won't be adopting


Peace on earth and goodwill towards all men and women soon evaporated in the education world with the coming of the new year.

A YouGov survey conducted by the National Union of Teachers published yesterday revealed that – when asked what they would most like the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, to make as his New Year resolution – the most popular option was that he should resign.

He won't, of course, and so 2013 promises to be a year of confrontation between the teachers' unions and the Education Secretary.

While few heads are likely to avail themselves of the opportunity to "fine" teachers carrying out the nationwide work-to-rule by the NUT and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (and the action itself seems to be having minimal impact in many schools), a new clash is looming over the Government's move to scrap annual pay increments for teachers – and replace them with awards based on headteacher assessment.

Expect this Easter's teacher union conferences to be littered with calls for strike action over the issue.

There are, though, some suggestions in the YouGov poll that need not spark off a bitter confrontation with the Department for Education.

OK, Mr Gove is not going to review his academies policy on their say-so or scrap the phonics check for all six-year-olds.

He is also likely to be unmoved by tales that morale in the classroom is plummeting as a result of his reforms.

On the question of the English Baccalaureate, though, one respondent suggested broadening the humanities element of it to include sociology and Religious Education as options alongside history and geography, and including a technical subject (including ICT, computing, graphic products and food technology) – and an artistic subject (art, drama or music) among the options.

A consensus seems to be emerging in the education world on the last two suggestions. If they were to be adopted, it would make this a real baccalaureate along the lines of others operating across the world.